NEW TRIP

Off the Beaten Path in Albania, Kosovo & Montenegro

Hiking the Heart of the Balkans

Montenegro

10 Days

From $4,595

Overview

    Book Online Download Itinerary

    Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

    Overview

    Discover an alpine paradise on one of the last frontiers of Europe! The steep Albanian Alps stretch across Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro, rising to nearly 9,000 feet and graced with glacial lakes, rock pinnacles, ancient beech forests, and quaint stone villages. We’ll hike in Albania’s Valbona National Park and Theth National Park, explore Kosovo’s historic town of Gjakova, once a stop on the Silk Road, and hike in Montenegro’s Grbaja Valley, an awe-inspiring cirque in the Western Balkans. Along the way, cultural delights abound, including a visit to Giacov, with its Ottoman-era bazaar and lunch at a family homestead in the Serbian enclave of Velika Hoca. Overnights are in simple hotels and mountain lodges.

    Arrive: Tirana, Albania

    Depart: Tirana, Albania

    Highlights

    • Witness the spectacular alpine landscapes of Valbona and Theth national parks
    • Follow trails through the jaw-dropping scenery of Montenegro's stunning Grebaja Valley
    • Hike on Mt. Trekufiri (7,762'), the three-border peak, and cross into Montenegro on foot
    • Visit the 14th century Visiko Decani Monastery, an awe-inspiring World Heritage Site
    • Savor the cuisine at Mrizi I Zanave, Albania's organic Slow Food restaurant

    Overview

      Book Online Download Itinerary

      Call 1-800-368-2794 or contact us for any questions

      Itinerary

      Download Itinerary Expand All Days
      After a fascinating walking tour of Tirana, we head to charming and historic Shkodër, gateway to the Albanian Alps, then to the alpine setting of Valbona National Park. From our guesthouse in the park, mountain trails bring us across flower-carpeted meadows and up to the once-closed border with Montenegro, with accommodations in a cozy mountain guesthouse.
      We'll explore the historic city of Gjakova in Kosovo, Europe's youngest country, visiting mosques and monasteries, then hike up to the “three-border peak” of Trekufiri (7,762'), walking across the border to descend to our guesthouse in Montenegro. The next day's hike brings us through Montenegro's magnificent Grebaja Valley, the most impressive mountain cirque in the Western Balkans.
      Our last hike is through the glacier-carved Ropojana Valley down to the charming village of Theth in The National Park. On Day 9, we celebrate our journey with a final overnight at Mrizi I Zanave, Albania's famous organic Slow Food farm-restaurant and also an authentic agriturismo. Depart Day 10.

      Dates & Pricing

      Pricing below is per person and based on double occupancy. The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have. WT also has the most generous cancellation and transfer policies in the industry, we make it easy if you change your mind. Have a small group of your own? Take over an existing date or choose your own. You’ll have your own private guide–and the adventure–all to yourselves!

      Payment & Cancel Schedule

      $600 due at time of reservation
      90 days prior to departure: Balance

      Cancellation & Transfer Schedule

      Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!
      61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
      46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
      45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

      Included
      • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
      • Accommodations in hotels and mountain inns
      • All meals
      • Permits required to cross the green border between the countries
      • All ground transportation and baggage handling from meeting until departure
      • All activities as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      Not Included
      • Travel to and from the arrival and departure location as indicated in Detailed Itinerary
      • Additional hotel nights outside the trip's scheduled dates
      • Optional gratuities to Trip Leaders or staff
      • Optional travel insurance
      • Other expenses of a personal nature (some alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

      Accommodations

      Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

      Hotel Cocja

      Shkodër, Albania

      Day 1 (1 night)

      The boutique Hotel Cocja has a great location on a quiet side street next to the walking district of historic Shkodër. Guest rooms are spacious and stylish, and there is a lovely courtyard for enjoying breakfast.

      Rezidenca B & B

      Valbona, Albania

      Days 2-4 (3 nights)

      This simple 12-room guesthouse in the Valbona Valley is surrounded by craggy mountains and has the feel of a Swiss chalet. Guest rooms are spread out on four floors, and each has a private balcony. The staff is kind and helpful.

      Hotel Happy

      Gjakova, Albania

      Day 5 (1 night)

      With 13 guest rooms, Hotel Happy is just a five-minute walk from many of Gjakova's cultural sites. Rooms are air-conditioned and some have a balcony or terrace. The hotel has a terrace bar and a restaurant with garden views.

      Moonlight House

      Vusanje, Montenegro

      Days 6-7 (2 nights)

      This newly built family-run guesthouse offers comfortable rooms, excellent meals, and warm hospitality. Meals are served on an outdoor terrace with stunning mountain views.

      Villa Gjecaj

      Theth National Park, Albania

      Day 8 (1 night)

      The eight-room Vila Gjecaj guesthouse provides clean and comfortable rooms and seasonal traditional food. This family-run accommodation includes the Old Tower, a traditional stone building from 1922, which preserves some of the history of the Gjecaj family.

      Mrizi i Zanave

      Fishte, Albania

      Day 9 (1 night)

      Albania's well-known Slow Food restaurant, the Mrizi i Zanave, located in the farming village of Fishte, is an organic farm, a delightful farm-to-table restaurant, and an agriturismo with nine comfortable but simple guest rooms. The property is beautiful, the staff is friendly, and the food is all grown on-site.

      Trip Leaders

      Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please click on their profiles below.

      Vlatko Bulatovic

      View Profile

      Stanislav Simicic

      View Profile

      Mirjeta Shatri

      View Profile

      What the Trip is Like

      This trip is rated a Level 4, Moderate to Strenuous, according to our trip grading system. You will need to be comfortable hiking over 10 miles in a day and being on your feet for 5-6 hours a day. You will also need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady pace of the group as there are no alternative hiking options available. Trail conditions, weather, and the group's level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.

      Average Hiking Day
      • 6 miles
      • 4 hours
      • 1,800 feet gain/loss

      Challenge Day
      • Day 6: 10+ miles, 5 hours, 1,500 feet gain/2,900 feet loss
      Review Trip Level Details
      While the Accursed Mountains are not exceptionally high, they are steep and rugged, and this trip, while not technically difficult, is aimed at those who have at least some experience mountain hiking. At lower elevations, the trails are usually packed dirt, but at higher elevations they can be uneven, with large rocks or loose scree, so participants must have good balance and be confident on their feet. Hiking poles are highly recommended.
      We strongly urge you to train for your trip, as your enjoyment will be highly dependent on your level of fitness. The best training for a hike is to hike, especially over hills or rough terrain. Next best are running, swimming, bicycling, or other cardiovascular exercises. Stair-climbing machines are excellent preparation for hiking uphill. Your feet should also be well prepared—make sure your hiking boots are sturdy, comfortable, and thoroughly broken-in. Altitude is generally not a problem on this trip. However, some people still experience a few problems when they first reach high altitude. Slight headache and sleeplessness are the most common symptoms.
      In Albania, the climate is Mediterranean on the coast (mild, rainy winters, hot, sunny summers), while slightly more continental and cooler in the mountainous interior, depending on the altitude. In the lowlands, the average summer temperature is 75°F, with mild winters at 45°F. In the mountainous interior, the dominant factor is elevation, with big daily fluctuations in temperatures between daytime and night. The snow line in the Albanian Alps is at 4,900 feet, compared to the Swiss Alps at around 8,500 feet. In June, the meadows are covered in wildflowers and by September, the last snowfields disappear and foliage begins to turn red, indicating the arrival of autumn. As in all mountain regions, there is a chance of summer rainfall and the possibility of thunderstorms.
      The hotels, mountain lodges, and guesthouses we use on this trip are somewhat basic given how far off the typical tourist path they are, but they are the best-available accommodations in the rural mountain areas we visit. They are well located, comfortable, and offer hearty homemade meals to fuel us as we hike through this gorgeous and lightly touristed region. It is important to arrive with an open mind and sense of adventure as we explore valleys without the tourist infrastructure you might expect in the Alps of Western Europe. Since guesthouses are often in historic rural buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole.
      Located on the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, Albania has a cuisine typical of a Mediterranean country, and you'll recognize elements from Italian, Greek, and Turkish cuisine. Mixed grills of meat and vegetable (zgara) are typical, as well as byrek, a savory pie with layers of flaky phyllo dough filled with various meat, vegetables, and herbs. Typical salads include chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, topped with white brine cheese. In the mountain villages, vegetable or beef stews offer nourishment, along with homemade cheeses and fresh-baked breads, and on the coast, there is catch-of-the-day fish. Lunches on Days 4, 6, 7, and 8 will be enjoyed picnic-style on the trail.

      Book your trip today

      Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!

      Itinerary

      Submit the form below to download itinerary

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      Trip Levels

      With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.

      Level 1 – Easiest

      Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.

      Level 2 – Easy to Moderate

      Hotel nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking.

       

      Level 3 – Moderate

      Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.

      Level 4 – Moderate to Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many days. Altitudes no greater than about 10,000 feet.

       

      Level 5 – Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.

      Level 6 – Very Strenuous

      Full-day hikes (5-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 10,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 18,000 feet.

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In Tirana, Albania&rsquo;s capital, we meet the Trip Leader this morning at the Rogner Hotel and set out for a walking tour of Tirana. We&rsquo;ll head to the new bazaar (green market) then continue toward Blloku, which holds monuments of various eras, from the Ottoman-era Ethem Bey mosque to the Brutalist buildings of the Communist period&mdash;and now the skyscrapers of capitalism. After lunch at a restaurant, we drive to charming Shkod&euml;r, Albania&rsquo;s more traditional capital and one of Europe&rsquo;s oldest cities. The city is nestled along stunning Lake Shkod&euml;r and known as the gateway to the Albanian Alps. The 14th century Rozafa Castle is perched above the lake and we&rsquo;ll stop there for views (weather permitting). Afterwards, we gather for our Welcome Dinner. 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If the water level is too high, we&rsquo;ll instead hike up to a viewpoint in the upper valley. The jagged peaks towering above us give us a preview of what we&rsquo;ll see in the days to come. The Albanian Alps are also known as the Accursed Mountains, and one explanation for that curious name is that local people thought the jagged glacial karst landscape had been created in a day by a mischievous devil, while another explanation is that it&rsquo;s a name given by the weary Slavic soldiers who had to cross these steep peaks. We&rsquo;ll enjoy a hearty dinner and overnight in the Rezidenca B&amp;B, our home for three nights in the sublime mountain setting of Valbona National Park. <br><br><strong>The Balkans<\/strong>: The Balkan Peninsula forms the rift between what was once known as the Occident and the Orient, the line between Western Europe and the Ottoman world. Vibrant, modern cities like Tirana contrast sharply with historic medieval towns, and rural areas where time moves at a slower speed. Visitors often note the fascinating changes they experience in the lively mix of peoples and tradition.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"3.5 hours\/2 hours","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":3,"DayTo":3,"Headline":"Cerem \/ Mt. Kolata \/ Valbona National Park ","ActivityOverview":"Hiking Details: ","EstimatedLength":"6 miles, 5 hours, 2,150 feet ascent\/descent\r\n","ActivityLevel":"Driving Time: ","ItinBlock":"We drive up into the mountains of Valbona National Park on a bumpy road built during the 41-year rule of the Communist-era leader Enver Hoxha. For almost 50 years, nobody was allowed to enter this mountain realm without special permission, but today we&rsquo;ll enjoy a beautiful hike across flower-carpeted meadows and beech forests right to the now-open border with Montenegro. Mt. Kolata (8,313'), the highest peak in Montenegro, provides breathtaking views along the way. Local people still live among these peaks, in harmony with nature as humankind did many years ago, and along the trail, we&rsquo;ll visit a family in their mountain home. After reaching Bor Pass, which separates the Western Alps from the Eastern Alps, we&rsquo;ll descend from our hike, stopping for some highland hospitality at a guesthouse before returning to our hotel. <br><br><strong>Peaks of the Balkans Trail:<\/strong> Almost all of our hikes take place on this long-distance trail that links three countries and four national parks. 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This was picked up by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in 2013, and assisted by a number of local tourism organizations and hiking clubs (including our Trip Leader, Vlatko!) to officially turn it into the Peaks of the Balkans trail.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"1.5 hours","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":4,"DayTo":4,"Headline":"Valbona National Park \/ Kukaj ","ActivityOverview":"Hiking Details: \r\n","EstimatedLength":"6 miles, 4.5 hours, 2,050 feet ascent\/descent","ActivityLevel":"Driving Time: ","ItinBlock":"A short drive takes us to the trailhead and as we start our hike, we&rsquo;ll see some of the concrete bunkers built during Enver Hoxha&rsquo;s rule. Our winding path quickly climbs through lush meadows ablaze with flowers to a simple shepherd&rsquo;s hut above the treeline. During the Communist era, this was a no-go area and the hut was a military barrack. Up here, we can admire the wild and romantic mountain scenery of the Valbona Valley. We have the option to hike higher to an ancient crossing at 6,610 feet on the Montenegrin border, where a weathered border pyramid is the only reminder of Albania&rsquo;s four-decade-long isolation. Clouds permitting, we should have vistas across the most dramatic parts of Montenegro&rsquo;s mountains, including the Albanian Alps&rsquo; highest peak, Jezerca (8,838'). We&rsquo;ll descend the isolated hamlet of Kukaj, with a visit to one of the families that resides here before returning to the hotel. Tonight we can admire the alpenglow from the hotel&rsquo;s veranda at dinner.<br>\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n<strong><br>Albanian Isolationism<\/strong>: After World War Two, Albania&rsquo;s authoritarian ruler, Enver Hoxha, shut the mountainous country off from the outside world for four decades, banning all religion and international travel. He was convinced that the rest of the world wanted to overthrow his Communist rule, so had 500,000 concrete bunkers built in case of attack. During this time, Albania was considered by many to be the &#8220;North Korea of Europe.&#8221;","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"30 minutes","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":5,"DayTo":5,"Headline":"Visoki Decani Monastery \/ Stone Castle \/ Gjakova, Kosovo ","ActivityOverview":"Driving Time: ","EstimatedLength":"4 hours, split among several legs","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Leaving the beautiful Valbona Valley, we cross the border to Kosovo&mdash;Europe&rsquo;s youngest country, having just gained independence in 2008. Kosovo is known as Metohija by Slavs and Dukagiini by Albanians, and both peoples consider it their cultural cradle. Today is a day of cultural activities, as we visit mosques and monasteries and learn about the country&rsquo;s recent turbulent history from both perspectives. We&rsquo;ll enjoy a guided visit to the Orthodox monastery of Visoki Decani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled among chestnut groves at the foot of the Accursed Mountains. Here we&rsquo;ll learn about monastic life and the 7th century origins of this church, which houses the largest medieval fresco ensemble in Europe. We continue towards Stone Castle, one of the largest privately held wineries in Europe, modernized with support from USAID, for a relaxing wine tasting and lunch. \n\nWe finish the day in the historic city of Gjakova, whose impressive arched bridges bear witness to the former wealth of this town. We&rsquo;ll walk through the reconstructed bazaar where for centuries, craftsmen supplied highlanders traveling from far way. We&rsquo;ll also visit a caravanserai, and if we are lucky, the imam of the local Hadumi Mosque will be available for a talk. His mosque is a gem of Islamic architecture and a masterpiece of engineering.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":6,"DayTo":6,"Headline":"Mt. Trekufiri \/ Lake Ohrid \/ Vusanje, Montenegro ","ActivityOverview":"Hiking Details: ","EstimatedLength":"roughly 10 miles, 5 hours, 1,500 feet ascent\/2,900 feet descent (hiking details may change based on road conditions)","ActivityLevel":"Driving Time:","ItinBlock":"This morning we drive by 4WD vehicle up into the hills beyond the Visoki Decani Monastery and higher up on a new road that will connect Montenegro&rsquo;s coast with Kosovo&rsquo;s hinterland. The exact starting point of this hike can change from season to season, depending on whether there is sometimes damage to this road from the previous winter&mdash;be prepared with a healthy sense of adventure! At the trailhead, we are surrounded by mountain splendor as we hike along the border of Kosovo and Montenegro and to the three-border peak, Mt. Trekufiri (7,762'). After enjoying the sweeping 360-degree views, we&rsquo;ll continue, this time hiking along the borders of Albania and Montenegro, passing an abandoned border station and descending into Montenegro on foot to arrive at the glacial waters of Lake Hrid. The lake&rsquo;s glassy surface reflects the spruce and pine forests that surround it and we have an opportunity for a swim. Transfer to and overnight at the Moonlight House, a guesthouse in the tranquil village of Vusanje in the Ropojana Valley.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"3 hours","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":7,"DayTo":7,"Headline":"Grebaja Valley \/ Popadija Katun \/ Vusanje","ActivityOverview":"Hiking Details: ","EstimatedLength":"5 miles, 4 hours, 1,650 feet ascent\/2,950 feet descent","ActivityLevel":"Driving Time: \r\n","ItinBlock":"Montenegro&rsquo;s magnificent Grebaja Valley might be the most inspiring mountain cirque in the Western Balkans, with Mt. Taljanka (6,748') perched right at the top. Traveling by 4WD vehicle, we reach the hamlet of Popadija Katun, where we hike the last section of the trail up to Montenegro&rsquo;s border with Albania. We&rsquo;ll have vistas of the twin peaks of Popadija and Taljanka, while across from us rise the sheer rock walls of the Karanfiji Massif (8,074'). The hike is steep at first but offers breathtaking views. We&rsquo;ll descend through a gentle beech forest, and at hike&rsquo;s end, celebrate in a local beer garden before returning to our guesthouse in Vusanje. Those who would prefer a rest day today can enjoy the small mountain town of Plav and Lake Plav.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"1.5 hours","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":8,"DayTo":8,"Headline":"Ropojana Valley \/ Gjeshtares Lake \/ Theth National Park ","ActivityOverview":"Hiking Details: ","EstimatedLength":"7 miles, 5.5 hours, 2,150 feet ascent\/2,950 feet descent","ActivityLevel":"\r\nDriving Time:","ItinBlock":"For our last mountain hike, we head by 4WD vehicle through glacier-carved Ropojana Valley, a world of towering peaks, waterfalls, and a seasonal glacial lake. We&rsquo;ll visit the karst spring, called Oko Skakavice, and continue to Gjeshtares Lake, where a weathered border stone serves as the only reminder of Albania&rsquo;s once-sealed borders. Today as we hike through the beautiful Ropojana Valley, we may meet shepherds moving their flocks to high pastures. A serpentine former caravan path leads us down into the village of Theth in Theth National Park. In this mountain valley, there&rsquo;s a local watering hole where we can have a drink before heading to our charming but simple guesthouse in Theth, a village encircled by green pastures and imposing peaks.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"1 hour","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":9,"DayTo":9,"Headline":"Thoria Pass \/ Shkod&euml;r \/ Mrizi I Zanave \/ Fisht&euml; ","ActivityOverview":"Driving Time:","EstimatedLength":"3.5 hours","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Leaving the mountains behind today, we&rsquo;ll drive over the winding Thoria Pass (5,396') and back down into the lowlands to Shkod&euml;r. After a city tour of Shkod&euml;r and a lakeside lunch, we head out into the countryside to experience the cuisine of Albania's famous Slow Food restaurant, Mrizi i Zanave, which is also a small and simple agriturismo. After our days in the mountains, this will feel like a different world, where Chef Altin Prenga has reinvented traditional cuisine for the modern age. The property is part restaurant, part farm, part winery, and serves incredibly tasty food, all grown and produced on site. It&rsquo;s a wonderful setting for our Farewell Dinner. We&rsquo;ll arrive in the early afternoon, which gives us time to relax after much great hiking, and we&rsquo;ll take a tour of the farm to learn about Albanian cuisine and see where tonight&rsquo;s dinner and tomorrow&rsquo;s breakfast will be coming from.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":1,"Dinner":1,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":10,"DayTo":10,"Headline":"Tirana \/ Depart ","ActivityOverview":" Driving Time:","EstimatedLength":"1.5 hours","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"A morning transfer brings us from Fishte to the Tirana airport, where flights depart from 12:30 pm onward. Alternatively, the transfer can take you to Tirana, which adds another 30-40 minutes driving time.","Breakfast":1,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":false},{"DayFrom":1,"DayTo":4,"Headline":"Tirana, Albania \/ Shkod&euml;r \/ Valbona National Park","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"After a fascinating walking tour of Tirana, we head to charming and historic Shkod&euml;r, gateway to the Albanian Alps, then to the alpine setting of Valbona National Park. 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The next day's hike brings us through Montenegro's magnificent Grebaja Valley, the most impressive mountain cirque in the Western Balkans.<br>","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true},{"DayFrom":8,"DayTo":10,"Headline":"Theth National Park \/ Shkod&euml;r \/ Mrizi I Zanave \/ Tirana","ActivityOverview":"","EstimatedLength":"","ActivityLevel":"","ItinBlock":"Our last hike is through the glacier-carved Ropojana Valley down to the charming village of Theth in The National Park. On Day 9, we celebrate our journey with a final overnight at Mrizi I Zanave, Albania's famous organic Slow Food farm-restaurant and also an authentic agriturismo. Depart Day 10.<br>","Breakfast":0,"Lunch":0,"Dinner":0,"Overnight":"","Travel_Type":"","Quotation":"","Quotation_Attribution":"","Itinerary_Location":"","Latitude":"","Longitude":"","Brief":true}],"itinpdf":[{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"1","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans-itinerary-2024.pdf"},{"ItinYear":"2024","docType":"2","FileName":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans-predeparture.pdf"}],"whattoexpect":[{}],"highlights":[{"DisplayOrder":1,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Witness the spectacular alpine landscapes of Valbona and Theth national parks ","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":32367,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":2,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Follow trails through the jaw-dropping scenery of Montenegro&apos;s stunning Grebaja Valley","Image":"","VideoLink":"","ImageAltTag":"","image_id":32367,"caption":""},{"DisplayOrder":3,"HighlightText":"","Description":"Hike on Mt. 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With Montenegro emerging as one of Europe&apos;s newest hiking destinations, he has been instrumental in recent years in developing hiking routes, marking trails, creating trail maps and determining locations for hikers&apos; huts&nbsp; in Montenegro&apos;s mountains. A former restauranteur, Vlatko (short for Vladimir) has a degree in economics and speaks Montenegrin and English. When not guiding, he can be found indulging his love for music by playing the guitar, drums, harmonica, and sometimes the kaval (the Balkan shepherds&apos; flute).","BioLong":"Vlatko Bulatovic, of Montenegro, is a professional mountain guide with a passion for introducing his home country to hikers. With Montenegro emerging as one of Europe&apos;s newest hiking destinations, he has been instrumental in recent years in developing hiking routes, marking trails, creating trail maps and determining locations for hikers&apos; huts&nbsp; in Montenegro&apos;s mountains. A former restauranteur, Vlatko (short for Vladimir) has a degree in economics and speaks Montenegrin and English. When not guiding, he can be found indulging his love for music by playing the guitar, drums, harmonica, and sometimes the kaval (the Balkan shepherds&apos; flute)."},{"GuideID":850880,"First_Name":"Stanislav","Last_Name":"Simicic","BioShort":"Stanislav Simicic, of Croatia, is a graduate of a culinary academy in Osijek. A fine chef, he was awarded a second-place ranking among all young Croatian chefs in a competition in 1997. Stanislav later worked as a chef at a restaurant in Pore&eacute; for three years, then began to manage several yachts that ply the Adriatic. He has been working with us as a chef and Trip Leader since 2007, bringing a thorough knowledge of Croatian history and culture to the trip, along with wonderful cuisine. Stanislav is fluent in English and German. When not guiding, he spends time exploring Croatia's many beautiful places with his wife, son, and friends.","BioLong":"Stanislav Simicic, of Croatia, is a graduate of a culinary academy in Osijek. A fine chef, he was awarded a second-place ranking among all young Croatian chefs in a competition in 1997. Stanislav later worked as a chef at a restaurant in Pore&eacute; for three years, then began to manage several yachts that ply the Adriatic. He has been working with us as a chef and Trip Leader since 2007, bringing a thorough knowledge of Croatian history and culture to the trip, along with wonderful cuisine. Stanislav is fluent in English and German. When not guiding, he spends time exploring Croatia's many beautiful places with his wife, son, and friends. \"Come to Croatia, a secret garden of beauty in the warm and sunny Mediterranean,\" he says. \"You'll discover a country of a thousand islands with beautiful nature, interesting traditions, and a rich cultural heritage.\""},{"GuideID":869391,"First_Name":"Mirjeta","Last_Name":"Shatri","BioShort":"Mirjeta Shatri was born and raised in Kosovo. With a background in psychology and a passion for interpersonal connection, she discovered her true calling as a mountain guide, seamlessly combining her love of nature and her innate ability to connect with others. When not guiding, Mirjeta enjoys capturing the beauty of moments through her camera lens while exploring mountain environs with friends.","BioLong":"Mirjeta Shatri was born and raised in Kosovo. With a background in psychology and a passion for interpersonal connection, she discovered her true calling as a mountain guide, seamlessly combining her love of nature and her innate ability to connect with others. When not guiding, Mirjeta enjoys capturing the beauty of moments through her camera lens while exploring mountain environs with friends."}],"guestreviews":[{}],"Extensions":[{}],"SimilarTrips":[{"TripID":11184,"SimilarTripID":10300,"Trip_Code":"ISTRIA","Trip_Name":"Croatia: Istria and the Dalmatian Coast"},{"TripID":11184,"SimilarTripID":10395,"Trip_Code":"HIKECAU","Trip_Name":"Hiker's Journey to the Caucasus"},{"TripID":11184,"SimilarTripID":10310,"Trip_Code":"SLOVENIA","Trip_Name":"Hiking in Slovenia"},{"TripID":11184,"SimilarTripID":10325,"Trip_Code":"MONTENEG","Trip_Name":"Montenegro and the Adriatic Coast"}],"Specialists":[{}],"TripSegments":[{"VendorID":74805,"ProductID":86610,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Extra Hotel Night","Vendor":"Hotel Rogner","Address1":"Golden Eagle Shpk","Address2":"Bulevardi D&euml;shmor&euml;t e Kombit 9","City":"Tirana","State":"","Postal":"1010","Product":"Pre-Trip Extra Services: Hotel Rogner (DATES, 1 night)","Day":0,"Sequence":20,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":11,"ProductID":54,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Single Supplement","Vendor":"Wilderness Travel","Address1":"1102 Ninth Street","Address2":"","City":"Berkeley","State":"CA","Postal":"94710","Product":"Single Supplement","Day":1,"Sequence":2,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"<p><\/p>","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":73794,"ProductID":85589,"SelectType":"Operational","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Accommodation","Vendor":"Hotel Cocja","Address1":"","Address2":"","City":"Shkod&euml;r","State":"","Postal":"","Product":"Standard Room","Day":1,"Sequence":10,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"The boutique Hotel Cocja has a great location on a quiet side street next to the walking district of historic Shkod&euml;r. 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The property is beautiful, the staff is friendly, and the food is all grown on-site.","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/vendors\/10-mrizi-i-zanave-room-view.jpg","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false},{"VendorID":74805,"ProductID":86610,"SelectType":"Optional","ChoiceGroup":0,"ProductType":"Extra Hotel Night","Vendor":"Hotel Rogner","Address1":"Golden Eagle Shpk","Address2":"Bulevardi D&euml;shmor&euml;t e Kombit 9","City":"Tirana","State":"","Postal":"1010","Product":"Post-Trip Extra Services: Hotel Rogner (DATES, 1 night)","Day":10,"Sequence":20,"Duration":1,"PropertyDescription":"","ItinBlock":"","VendorPhoto":"","ProductPhoto":"","OnRequest":"Option","Overhead":false,"BookingNotes":"","TicketSession":"","TicketTimeOfDay":"","TicketRound":"","TicketCategory":"","TicketDate":"","TicketLocation":"","NotTicketOnly":false,"Inactive":false}],"CustomFields":{"Custom_TC_Detailed_Itin_URL":"https:\/\/s3.us-west-1.wasabisys.com\/wildernesstravel\/portal\/hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans-itinerary-2024.pdf","Custom_Trip_Name_Addendum":"Adventure","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Addendum":"","Custom_Trip_Level_5":"","Custom_Welcome_Email_Send_List":"Extra Service Request Form","Custom_FI_Optional_Donation_Text":"","Custom_Final_Docs_Letter_Send_List":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Trip_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_TP_Trip_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Payment_Terms":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region":"","Custom_Sales_Email_-_Region_Sales_Points":"","Custom_Emergency_Evac_Insurance":"","Custom_Welcome_Letter_Reading_List":"<div><strong>Reading List: <\/strong>Elevate your travel experience by delving into this <a href=\"https:\/\/bookshop.org\/lists\/wilderness-travel-hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans\">curated collection of books<\/a> tailored to your upcoming adventure.<\/div>","Custom_Valid_Passport_Alternative":"","Custom_Visa":"","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Before_You_Go_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Luggage_Requirements":"","Custom_Carry-On":"","Custom_Hiking_Poles":"","Custom_Daypack":"","Custom_Vaccination_Card":"","Custom_FB_Packing_Reminders_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_1":"","Custom_FB_Additional_Notes_-_MISC_2":"","Custom_Arrival":"","Custom_Arrival-_Meeting_Place":"","Custom_Arrival_Transfer":"","Custom_Departure":"","Custom_Extra_Services":"","Custom_Contact_Information_for_Friends_and_Family":"","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Left":"","Custom_Outfitter_Contacts_Right":"","Custom_name_slug":"balkans-albania-kosovo-montenegro-peaks-hiking-tour","Custom_Meta_Description":"Hike the best sections of the Peaks of the Balkans trail from the Albanian Alps to Montenegro&apos;s magnificent Grebaje Valley.","Custom_List_Description":"Hike the Albanian Alps and Montenegro's magnificent Grebaje Valley, visit ancient villages, discover Kosovo's mosques and monasteries.","Custom_Redirect":"","Custom_PJ_-_Best_Months":"","Custom_After_Dates":"","Custom_Trip_Web_Note":"","Custom_Title_Tag":"Heart of the Balkans Hiking Tour | Albania, Kosovo & Montenegro","Custom_Before_Days":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_1":"","Custom_After_Days_Header_2":"","Custom_After_Days_Text_2":"","Custom_Choosing_Right_Trip_Office_Contact":"","Custom_About_WT_Expeditions":"","Custom_Arrival_-_Sales":"<strong>Suggested Airport: <\/strong>Tirana International Airport N&euml;n&euml; Tereza (TIA)<br><strong>Suggested Date &amp; Time:<\/strong> Anytime prior to Day 1<br><strong><br>Meeting Place &amp; Time:<\/strong>You will meet your Trip Leader in the lobby of the Rogner Hotel at 10:00 am on Day 1. <br><br>You must arrive in Tirana the day before the trip begins, as the group meets at 10:00 am on the first day. We are happy to book you into our group hotel in Tirana (depending on availability) or help with booking a nearby hotel for any extra nights you may need in Tirana. <br><br>We recommend using an official airport taxi to transfer from Tirana Airport to your hotel. This drive takes 20-25 minutes to the city center depending on traffic. Taxis will be found directly outside after customs and are available 24\/7. Taxi rates can be trusted, however there is also a small dispatcher booth with an official price list, if you wish to check the current rate before getting in a taxi.","Custom_Departure_-_Sales":"<strong>Suggested Airport: <\/strong>Tirana International Airport N&euml;n&euml; Tereza (TIA)<br><strong>Date &amp; Time: <\/strong>Day 10, after 12:30 pm <br><br>On Day 10, a group transfer will take you from the group hotel in Fishte to the Tirana airport. For those not departing that same day, a stop can be made in Tirana following that.","Custom_International_Air_Travel":"You are responsible for making your own arrangements for flights to and from Tirana. <br><br>There are many online consolidators for booking travel, but for more personal help arranging air transport, you can contact Exito Travel at 1-800-655-4053 in the US or 1-800-670-2605 in Canada. They are very adept at putting flight itineraries together, to even the most far-flung places. More information can be found on Exito's website at <a href=\"http:\/\/www.exitotravel.com\">www.exitotravel.com<\/a>. <br><br>Depending on your routing, it is necessary to depart from the US one or possibly two days prior to Day 1 of the trip itinerary. The name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly, and your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return to the US. <br><br><strong>Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip.<\/strong> Once tickets are purchased, please forward a copy of your email flight confirmation from the airline. It is your responsibility to ensure your flight times coordinate with the arrival and departure logistics for this trip.","Custom_Extra_Hotel_Nights":"","Custom_Recommended_Hotels":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_1":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Header_2":"","Custom_A_and_D_Misc_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_1":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_2":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_3":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_4":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Header_5":"","Custom_FAQ_-_Text_5":"","Custom_file_name":"hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans","Custom_Passport":"A valid passport is required for your trip. Be sure to check the expiration date. Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of exit from Montenegro. In addition, we recommend your passport have at least two completely blank visa pages for every country you will be visiting. It is very important that the blank pages say &#8220;Visas&#8221; at the top. The last few pages of your passport, which say &#8220;Amendments and Endorsements,&#8221; and the final page of your passport, which may not have a page number, are not considered to be legitimate visa pages. The service of adding pages for visas was discontinued as of January 1, 2016. You can request a new passport through <a href=\"http:\/\/travel.state.gov\/passport\">US Passport Services Office<\/a> or use a visa service agency, which can take care of your passport renewal and expedite the process, if needed. We recommend <a href=\"http:\/\/www.passportvisasexpress.com\/?affId=2120\">Passport Visas Express<\/a>. Be sure to allow sufficient time to acquire this before your trip.<br><br>It is very important to carry photocopies of your passport's photo page and any acquired visa pages for your trip (if applicable) in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.<br><br>","Custom_Visas_and_Entry_Notes":"US citizens do not need a visa for countries visited on this trip. If you are a citizen of any country other than the US, check with a local consulate for entry requirements.","Custom_Money":"For our short time in Sarajevo, it is not necessary to change US dollars into Bosnian currency. You can easily use ATMs to access local currency and most major hotels and nicer restaurants will accept Euros. Likewise, in Montenegro, the Euro is used as the currency even though Montenegro is not in the EU yet!<br><br>The most convenient way to obtain Euros is to use your debit card at ATMs. To use an ATM internationally, you must have a four-digit PIN. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops in cities and larger towns. If you plan to use your credit cards, inform your credit card company before your departure that you will be using the card abroad.","Custom_Tipping":"Tipping is completely discretionary, but over the years, clients have asked us for tipping guidelines to reward guides for outstanding service. We suggest a tip of $170 or more per trip member for each of the Trip Leaders, preferably in local currency. The Trip Leaders take care of gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff, and for local guides and drivers.","Custom_Food":"Please reach out to us directly to discuss any dietary restrictions or concerns you may have. We can easily make arrangements for most diets, but please keep in mind that certain cultural differences or logistical limitations can make it difficult or at times impossible to accommodate all requests. With this in mind, please inform us at least eight weeks before your trip if you have a special diet, and any food allergies in particular, so we can do our best to meet your needs.","Custom_Communications":"<strong>Telephone:<\/strong> The international dialing code for Montenegro is 382 and for Bosnia-Herzegovina is 387. Please contact your cell phone company for specific instructions for international use. <br><br><strong>Email &amp; Internet Access:<\/strong> Internet access is available at most of our hotels and lodges. but service can be spotty and unreliable.","Custom_Electricity":"Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina have 220-volt current. Plugs usually have two or three prongs. You will need to bring a voltage converter and plug adapter for appliance use in hotels.","Custom_Laundry":"","Custom_Ship_Notes":"","Custom_Inoculations":"No inoculations are required. However, it is easy to get a small cut, so a tetanus booster is strongly recommended (good for 10 years). If you take prescription medicines, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your trip.","Custom_International_Health":"","Custom_Malaria_Prevention":"","Custom_Staying_Healthy":"You can reduce your risk of getting sick on the trip by washing your hands often and not touching your face with unwashed hands. If you arrive on the trip with a cold or feel the symptoms of a cold, avoid close contact with others and move away from people before coughing or sneezing. The CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hands.","Custom_Getting_In_Shape":"","Custom_Medical_Care":"","Custom_Altitude_Considerations":"","Custom_Reading_List":"Elevate your travel experience by delving into this curated collection of books tailored to your upcoming adventure. They will not only entertain but also provide invaluable insights into the history, culture, cuisine, wildlife, mountain trails, or even folklore of the places you're about to explore. Discover the perfect companions for your journey ahead by <a href=\"https:\/\/bookshop.org\/lists\/wilderness-travel-hiking-the-heart-of-the-balkans\">following the link<\/a> or scanning the QR code.","Custom_Photography":"","Custom_Cultural_Considerations":"","Custom_Giving_Back":"","Custom_Enviromental_Concerns":"","Custom_Shopping_and_Souvenirs":"","Custom_Seasickness":"","Custom_Explore":"","Custom_Additional_Information":"","Custom_Essentials":"<ul><li>Air tickets (or E-tickets)<\/li><li>Passport<\/li><li>One other picture ID, such as a driver's license<\/li><li>Expense money<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Luggage":"We ask that you pack everything in one piece of luggage as this simplifies the transportation of luggage en route. <br><ul><li>Soft-sided suitcase, with a small padlock (must be unlocked for air travel). Soft-sided bags with wheels are fine.<\/li><li>Daypack, large enough for a jacket or rain gear, water bottle, camera, and other items you want on the trail.<\/li><li>(Optional) Small roll-up bag to carry home purchases.<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Clothing":"Bring clothes you find most comfortable for walking. On a warm sunny day, you might want to hike in shorts and a t-shirt, but remember that rain and cold weather can occur at any time. Dressing in layers is the best way to stay comfortable. You'll want a change of clothes for the evening, but nothing dressy is necessary. Casual wear is fine, and coats and ties are not required. <br><br>The clothing list below is provided as a guideline only.<br><ul><li>Good quality rain\/wind shell jacket with hood, and rain\/wind pants. Gore-Tex and equivalent fabrics are waterproof and breathable and are a practical choice. Make sure your jacket has a hood and sealed seams to prevent leaking. Pants with leg zippers are practical because you can take them off without removing your boots. Ponchos aren't suitable.<\/li><li>Fleece jacket or heavy wool sweater<\/li><li>Fleece sweater or sweatshirt<\/li><li>Long-sleeved shirt. Quick-drying &#8220;travel&#8221; fabrics like nylon are ideal.<\/li><li>T-shirts<\/li><li>Hiking pants, one or two pairs. Jeans are not suitable because they are made of dense cotton, and once wet, will stay wet. Pile pants or synthetic hiking pants are a practical choice.<\/li><li>Hiking shorts, two pairs. Quick-drying nylon shorts are great.<\/li><li>Shade hat with a wide brim<\/li><li>Medium hiking boots. Your boots must be waterproof, warm, comfortable, and broken in! Please choose them carefully. Ankle support is very important. Blisters caused by improperly fitted or insufficiently broken-in boots are the most common and painful problem normally encountered on hiking trips.<\/li><li>Comfortable walking shoes for towns<\/li><li>Underwear, socks<\/li><li>Bathing suit (for hotel pools)<\/li><li>Sleepwear<\/li><li>Casual city\/hotel attire<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Hiking_Boots":"","Custom_Equipment":"<ul><li>Reusable water bottle, 1 qt. capacity.<\/li><li>Good quality sunglasses with case. A spare pair is handy if your first pair gets lost.<\/li><li>Assorted plastic bags to compartmentalize items<\/li><li>Waterproof cover for your daypack<\/li><li>Money belt or neck pouch. Always carry your passport, credit cards, and cash with you in a money belt or neck pouch tucked down inside your shirt or blouse.<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Personal_First_Aid":"Every trip member must bring a small kit for personal use. Your own experience will influence your choices.<br><ul><li>Sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and lip balm with sunscreen. We recommend mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they do not contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Brands such as Honest Company, Badger, and Alba Botanica are found in most sporting goods stores and drugstores.<\/li><li>Insect repellent (optional)<\/li><li>Aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol for muscle pain or headaches, Tylenol PM for sleep<\/li><li>Blister kit. Look for long-lasting gel-type bandages that you can apply directly on blisters, such as Band-Aid Advanced Healing Bandages or Curad Gel Multi-Day Bandages. &#8220;Liquid band-aids,&#8221; such as New-Skin, are useful because they dry rapidly to form a tough protective cover over a blister.<\/li><li>Prescription medications properly labeled<\/li><li>Spare contact lenses or spare prescription glasses<\/li><\/ul>","Custom_Optional_Items":"","Custom_Prohibited_Items":"","Custom_When_to_Go":"","Custom_Children":"","Custom_Tag_Line":"Off the Beaten Path in\nAlbania, Kosovo &amp; Montenegro","Custom_Lodging":"9 nights hotels and simple guesthouses","Custom_Meals":"All meals included","Custom_Difficulty":"Moderate to strenuous hike, 4 to 10 miles a day, elevations below 7,500 feet, most trails are packed dirt but some can have large rocks or loose scree, rugged road travel","Custom_Currency_Exchange_Rate":"","Custom_Fuel_Surcharge":"","Custom_Signing_Up_For_a_Trip_-_Email":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_This_Year":"","Custom_Optional_Hotel_Upgrades_-_Next_Year":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Header":"","Custom_Trip_Cost_Misc_Text":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like":"This trip is rated a <strong>Level 4, Moderate to Strenuous<\/strong>, according to our trip grading system. You will need to be comfortable hiking over 10 miles in a day and being on your feet for 5-6 hours a day. You will also need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady pace of the group as there are no alternative hiking options available. Trail conditions, weather, and the group's level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing. <br><br><strong>Average Hiking Day<\/strong><br><ul><li>\n6 miles<\/li><li>4 hours<\/li><li>1,800 feet gain\/loss<\/li><\/ul><div><br><strong>Challenge Day<\/strong><br><ul><li>Day 6: 10+ miles, 5 hours, 1,500 feet gain\/2,900 feet loss<\/li><\/ul><\/div>","Custom_Terrain":"While the Accursed Mountains are not exceptionally high, they are steep and rugged, and this trip, while not technically difficult, is aimed at those who have at least some experience mountain hiking. At lower elevations, the trails are usually packed dirt, but at higher elevations they can be uneven, with large rocks or loose scree, so participants must have good balance and be confident on their feet. Hiking poles are highly recommended.","Custom_Getting_in_Shape":"We strongly urge you to train for your trip, as your enjoyment will be highly dependent on your level of fitness. The best training for a hike is to hike, especially over hills or rough terrain. Next best are running, swimming, bicycling, or other cardiovascular exercises. Stair-climbing machines are excellent preparation for hiking uphill. Your feet should also be well prepared&mdash;make sure your hiking boots are sturdy, comfortable, and thoroughly broken-in. Altitude is generally not a problem on this trip. However, some people still experience a few problems when they first reach high altitude. Slight headache and sleeplessness are the most common symptoms.","Custom_Weather":"In Albania, the climate is Mediterranean on the coast (mild, rainy winters, hot, sunny summers), while slightly more continental and cooler in the mountainous interior, depending on the altitude. In the lowlands, the average summer temperature is 75&deg;F, with mild winters at 45&deg;F. In the mountainous interior, the dominant factor is elevation, with big daily fluctuations in temperatures between daytime and night. The snow line in the Albanian Alps is at 4,900 feet, compared to the Swiss Alps at around 8,500 feet. In June, the meadows are covered in wildflowers and by September, the last snowfields disappear and foliage begins to turn red, indicating the arrival of autumn. As in all mountain regions, there is a chance of summer rainfall and the possibility of thunderstorms.","Custom_Accommodations":"The hotels, mountain lodges, and guesthouses we use on this trip are somewhat basic given how far off the typical tourist path they are, but they are the best-available accommodations in the rural mountain areas we visit. They are well located, comfortable, and offer hearty homemade meals to fuel us as we hike through this gorgeous and lightly touristed region. It is important to arrive with an open mind and sense of adventure as we explore valleys without the tourist infrastructure you might expect in the Alps of Western Europe. Since guesthouses are often in historic rural buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole.","Custom_Cuisine":"Located on the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, Albania has a cuisine typical of a Mediterranean country, and you'll recognize elements from Italian, Greek, and Turkish cuisine. Mixed grills of meat and vegetable (<em>zgara<\/em>) are typical, as well as<em> byrek<\/em>, a savory pie with layers of flaky phyllo dough filled with various meat, vegetables, and herbs. Typical salads include chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, topped with white brine cheese. In the mountain villages, vegetable or beef stews offer nourishment, along with homemade cheeses and fresh-baked breads, and on the coast, there is catch-of-the-day fish. Lunches on Days 4, 6, 7, and 8 will be enjoyed picnic-style on the trail.","Custom_Transportation":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_1":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_1":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Header_2":"","Custom_What_the_Trip_is_Like_-_Text_2":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_1":"","Custom_Trip_Level_Note_2":"","System_Choosing_the_Right_Trip":"<p>Adventure travel often involves exotic destinations, unusual levels of physical exertion, or activities you may not have participated in previously. We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please call Wilderness Travel at 1-800-368-2794 or email us at <a href=\"mailto:\/\/info@wildernesstravel.com\">info@wildernesstravel.com<\/a>.<\/p>","System_References":"<p>We&rsquo;d be happy to put you in touch with a past client that has traveled with us on this trip.<\/p>","System_Visit_Our_Website":"<p>At <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/\">saito8.com<\/a>, you can book your trip online or find out about added departures, last-minute deals, and one-time Limited Edition adventures that aren&rsquo;t listed in our catalog. You can also access our complete library of detailed itineraries filled with enticing photos and videos, read bios of our Trip Leaders, find descriptions of trip accommodations, and check real-time availability of any trips that interest you.<\/p>","System_Helpful_Links":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:52:03 --><p>Wilderness Travel has compiled a list of useful websites for travelers. Find the Toucan Club tab on the home page of our website and choose Helpful Links: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/ toucan\/links\">saito8.com\/ toucan\/links<\/a>.<\/p>","System_About_New_Trips":"This is a new adventure and one that we are particularly excited about offering. However, as with all new departures, flexibility and a spirit of adventure are always appreciated! Activities are described in the itinerary but they can vary, sometimes considerably, depending on weather conditions, the group, and other factors.","System_About_Private_Journeys":"<p>Wilderness Travel Private Journeys are designed for people who want to travel with their own small private group, but who still want to experience the same superb itinerary design, great accommodations, and signature quality of Wilderness Travel's escorted group trips. These Private Journeys allow you to choose your own dates and your traveling companions&mdash;and enjoy the WT touch on all aspects of the journey.<\/p>","System_Limited_Edition_Adventures":"This is a Limited Edition adventure&mdash;which means a unique trip we've never run before or offer only every few years. Led by our most experienced Trip Leaders, these journeys often take place in remote destinations with only the most basic infrastructure for tourism. If you see a Limited Edition trip scheduled for this year, now is the time to sign up, as spaces fill very early and the trip may not be back for a while! Planned daily activities and actual timings may vary due to local conditions or the discretion of your Trip Leader&mdash;it is important to bring your spirit of adventure for these special exploratory journeys!","System_Social_Media":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:33:43 --><p><strong>SOCIAL MEDIA:<\/strong> We invite you to share your adventure with us on social media. Tag @wildernesstravel and we may even feature your content on our pages!<\/p>","System_If_You_Miss_Your_Flight":"<p><strong>IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT<\/strong><br>If you miss your flight or are otherwise delayed, contact our Wilderness Travel office, as well as our local partners, with your new flight information. Refer to the Emergency Contact Information listed in this Final Bulletin.<\/p>","System_Valid_Passport":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-06-16T10:26:21 --><p><strong>VALID PASSPORT:<\/strong> Check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the last day of your trip, and that you have at least two blank pages for any necessary visa or entry and exit stamps.<\/p>","System_Insurance_Policy":"<p><strong>INSURANCE POLICY:<\/strong> If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan, you should have received an email confirmation of your policy. Please bring a digital or printed copy of this policy with you. If you cannot find your email confirmation, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. If you have not purchased Travelex insurance already, you have the option to do so up to 24 hours prior to your departure.<\/p>","System_Covid-19_Travel_Requirements":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-04-19T13:27:44 --><p><strong>COVID-19 TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS:<\/strong> Please double-check COVID-19 entry requirements for any countries you may be traveling to or transiting through, on this website: <a href=\"apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions\">apply.joinsherpa.com\/travel-restrictions<\/a><\/p>","System_Pre-Trip_Safety":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:37:06 --><p><strong>PRE-TRIP SAFETY:<\/strong> In the next weeks, we encourage you to do everything possible to stay healthy. Please practice social distancing, steer clear of potential COVID-19 exposure, and take an at-home antigen or lab based PCR test before you depart.<\/p>","System_Wilderness_Travel_Office":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:07 --><p>Our office in Berkeley, California can be reached at 510-558-2488, or by email at info@wildernesstravel.com. We are available during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, PST). <\/p>","System_ECI_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:38:31 --><p>If you have purchased the Travelex Travel Protection Plan through Wilderness Travel, please remember to bring your Confirmation of Coverages (COC) with you on the trip, including your Plan Number and important emergency contact information.<\/p><p>If you've purchased a travel protection plan on your own, we recommend that you bring a copy of your policy, including all coverages, with you on your trip.<\/p>","System_Face_Masks_and_Hand_Sanitizer":"","System_DidNotPurchase_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-02-28T12:27:44 --><p>Travel Insurance: We recommend that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. For your convenience, we offer Travelex travel protection. Please let us know if you would like us to add the Travelex Travel Protection Plan to this final invoice. You can learn more about the policy on our <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/toucan\/travel-insurance\">website<\/a>.<\/p>","System_Purchased_Insurance":"Please remember to bring a copy of your Travelex Confirmation of Coverage and State Specific Policy with you on your trip. You should have received an email directly from Travelex with these documents. If you need this email to be re-sent, please contact Travelex's Customer Solutions team at 844-877-1885 or e-mail customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. <br><br><br>","System_Photography":"<strong>Camera Recommendations<\/strong><br>With the many advances in digital technology, a simple compact digital camera or even your smartphone is capable of taking pictures suitable for the needs of most people. For higher quality images and the ability to use long lenses for closer wildlife pictures, a DSLR camera is well worthwhile, though heavier. Most digital cameras and phones have good video options, but you may want to consider a GoPro for a lightweight, waterproof option. Always practice ahead of time with new equipment and bring your manual with you. You may want to consider renting camera equipment for your trip from places such as <a href=\"https:\/\/www.borrowlenses.com\/\">borrowlenses.com<\/a>. This is an especially good idea for renting large zoom lenses that you may need for just one trip. Adding their extra insurance fee to cover expensive equipment is recommended. <br><strong><br>Camera Accessories<\/strong><br>We recommend bringing at least two large capacity memory cards or a small digital storage unit (or tablet) to back up your photos, freeing space on your memory cards. Don't forget to bring a battery charger and a backup battery so one is always charged and ready to use. For trips where you may be away from power sources for multiple days, consider looking into a solar-powered battery charger or buying additional backup batteries, and check that you have the appropriate adapter for the electrical outlets in your destination.<br><strong><br>Sharing Your Images<\/strong><br>We would love for you to share photos from your trip, and with your permission, may even use your photos in our marketing materials or on our photo blog. We request that you send us a small sample of your best images. Please email your photos to wtphotoblog@gmail.com or tag us @WildernessTravel on social media.<br><strong><br>Photography Etiquette<\/strong><br>When taking pictures of local people, be aware of cultural considerations. Approaching people with a warm smile and using polite gestures or simple phrases to ask permission to photograph them usually works well. It is always recommended to engage people in conversation before asking to photograph them, but if people do not wish to have their photo taken, please honor their requests. We urge travelers to avoid giving money in exchange for photo opportunities, which makes it harder for future travelers to have a meaningful personal interaction with local people. Please always heed your Trip Leader's guidelines for what is appropriate. ","System_Gear_Store":"To help you prepare for your next WT adventure, we've put together a great collection of top brands including Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Eagle Creek, and more at our WT Gear Store (<a href=\"https:\/\/wildernesstravel.newheadings.com\/\">wildernesstravel.newheadings.com<\/a>).","System_Questions?":"<p>Our Area Specialists are your single point of contact and would be happy to answer any questions about your trip!<br>800.368.2794 | 510.558.2488<\/p>","System_Pricing_Detail-Small_Group_Adventure":" <br><br>To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are priced according to the number of participants on the trip. All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. Please note that Wilderness Travel staff, or guests of Wilderness Travel such as travel writers, photographers, or leaders-in-training, are not included in the tier pricing count.","System_Travel_Insurance":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-01-27T07:58:05 --><p>We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance. You can take advantage of a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan designed for Wilderness Travel by Travelex, or purchase other insurance on your own. See our website for details: <a href=\"http:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/insurance\">saito8.com\/insurance<\/a><\/p>","System_Make_it_Your_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:18 --><p>The prices above are for the ready-to-book adventure outlined in this Detailed Itinerary, a popular option that has been handcrafted by our Area Specialists to include the best of every destination. While many travelers choose to book this tour as is, our Area Specialists are also happy to work with you to customize this Private Journey to suit your specific interests and style of travel. We can arrange for longer or shorter stays, offer hotel upgrades (see below for sample costs), or add an extension to additional places of interest. We can even add special activities or customize excursions depending on your interests. We invite you to contact us to discuss your options!<\/p>","System_Signing_up_for_a_Trip":"<!-- Generated by XStandard version 3.0.0.0 on 2023-03-29T11:44:42 --><p>Early reservations are recommended since accommodations often sell out far in advance. Please call 1-800-368-2794 and ask for our [Africa Manager] or email us at [africa@ wildernesstravel.com] with any questions that you may have about this trip. To reserve your Private Journey, we will need to know your preferred dates of travel. We will then check availability and send you a proposed itinerary with exact pricing for your adventure. We can typically hold a provisional booking for one week. At that time, we must collect your initial deposit or accommodations will be released. We accept Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet that includes a letter of confirmation, Detailed Itinerary, Trip Application, Medical Form, and Pre-Departure Information Booklet with information to help you prepare for your adventure. Please see our Cancellations and Transfer Fee Schedule for specific payment information.<\/p>","System_Trip_Leaders":"<p>Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please visit <a href=\"https:\/\/www.wildernesstravel.com\/leaders\/\">wildernesstravel.com\/leaders<\/a>.<\/p>"},"terms":{"PaymentSchedule":"<p>$600 due at time of reservation <br \/>90 days prior to departure: Balance<\/p>","CancelSchedule":"<p>Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!<br>61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost<br>46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost<br>45 days or less: 100% of trip cost<br><\/p>"}}